High Five! Comics

Posts Tagged ‘Oni Press

stumptown1I know we’ve said it about a billion times, but we’ll say it again; Greg Rucka knows how to write for the ladies (both characters and readers). Rucka’s latest Oni Press book, “Stumptown,” kicked off this week, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Rucka is well known as the “chick guy”; he’s one of very few writers in comics who not only write about women, but consistently get it right. More remarkable than his ability to channel brilliant, complex, female characters is his ability to make them all markedly different from one another. Occasionally, Stumptown’s Dex parallels Renee Montoya a bit (private investigator, cracking jokes under pressure), but the similarities end there. Stetko, Chace, Kane, Montoya, and Dex could all kick your butt to next Tuesday and most of them are borderline alcoholic, but these women are anything but carbons copies of one another.

A Stumptown opens, Dex is yanked from the trunk of a car, wisecracking all the way, and promptly shot in the chest. Well. Damn. We spend the rest of the book finding out how she managed to get herself into this one. We meet Dex’s special needs brother Ansel (Whenever Dex meets up with anyone, or speaks to anyone on the phone, they ask how Ansel is. After a while, I noticed everyone was asking how Ansel was, but almost nobody asked Dex how she was doing. I started to wonder if anyone liked her at all.) Dex appears to be Ansel’s sole guardian, and they live together in a sweet craftsman house, which doubles as the homebase for Dex’s Stumptown Investigations.

dexshot

I’ve never been to Portland, but Matthew Southworth’s artwork makes me feel as though I have. Southworth is a Seattle-dweller himself, but he spent lots of time in Portland taking pictures and driving around, making sure he got Portland just right. In the first issue’s afterword, he mentions that there’s nothing more frustrating than reading a book set in your hometown and realizing the writer or artist got it all wrong – so he went out of his way to achieve accuracy.

Stumptown’s first issue is solid. Go buy it. Now. I drank Newcastle with it, but I get the feeling I need to pick up a six pack of something from a Portland microbrewery to really appreciate this.

My friends will tell you, I can grow one hell of an Alan Moore beard. I love walking around shirtless while listening to Thin Lizzy’s “Emerald” on repeat. For every glass of water I drink, I have three glasses of beer. I have man hands and I have man feet and I have man junk. I am a man.

SUPER MANLY

SUPER MANLY

Now that I have that out of the way, I’d like to tell you about Renee Montoya, Helena Bertinelli, Kate Kane, Carrie Stetko, Tara Chace, Elektra Natchios, and Diana Prince. Any one of them could kick the ever loving shit out of me without even trying. Who do I have to blame for this?

Gregory Rucka.

crisisreneeHis current run on Detective Comics is the best example of how formidable his female characters can be. This title’s main feature is Batwoman (who is putting up one hell of a fight against this weird-ass Alice and her Cain cult). My favorite, however, is the second feature starring the Renee Montoya version of the Question. [Astute readers will recall that Renee first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series as a Gotham cop – M]. Rucka previously worked with the Vic Sage version of the Question in Huntress/Batman: Cry for Blood and has pretty much been in charge of Montoya since Sage passed the torch to her in 52 (which Rucka wrote with Johns, Morrison, and Waid). Rucka wrote for Montoya again in Five Books of Blood and in Final Crisis: Revelations (which is my absolute favorite tie-in to that event). I think Rucka put it best with what he wrote across the cover of my copy (and Maggie’s copy, and probably a lot of people’s copies) of Detective Comics #854: “She kicks ALL the ass.”

Hot damn.

Hot damn.

I never much cared for Wonder Woman books before I picked up a copy of The Hiketeia at San Diego Comic-Con. Holy fuck, that book. The premise is that a girl murders some pornographers in Gotham City, runs to New York, and requests shelter from Diana with some weird plea ripped from “the Iliad.” Diana has to take her in, despite Batman wanting to bring the girl to justice. Fuck yeah, you gotta find and read that book. His run in volume two of Wonder Woman expanded on the idea of Diana Prince being completely willing to sacrifice everything (up to and including her fucking eyesight) for the greater good.

q&cOh man, and his Oni Press ladies. Carrie Steko from Whiteout [Now a major motion picture! -M] kicks ass after getting her fingers chopped off Margot Tenenbaum-style (if Margot’s birth family lived in Antarctica). Then, she goes back for fucking seconds. In the first issue of Queen and Country (the entirety of which is linked to in the “Gateway Drugs: Your Mom” post), Tara Chace, alone in Kosovo, snipes a dude in the dome and escapes with nothing but a UN jacket and a naked photo of herself (yes, I know, that sentence was weird to type, too).

Unfortunately, I have yet to read either Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra or Huntress/Batman: Cry for Blood. They’re both pretty much on the top of my want list and I’ve been trying to hunt down a copy, but to no avail. Hell, the only time I’ve ever actually seen a physical copy of Cry for Blood was in the hands of some guy in a Mexican restaurant after preview night at SDCC. I stood there staring at it until that awkward realization that his entire table was starring back. Hey, Mr. Rucka. If you read this, wanna tooootally hook me up with one (pwetty pwease)?

Needless to say, Greg Rucka, you are gifted at writing for women that make me feel like a namby pamby little puss-puss. I commend you on that. If I had to read one more comic where the females either seems helpless or seem to fall out of their clothes every other page (see: 90% of comics in the 1990s and a weird, disturbing little percentage in the 50s, eek), well, I’d pretty much give up on comics being anything but a fucking circle jerk. Well done, Greg Rucka. Your female characters have made my testicles retreat into my torso, but you know, in a good way. Wait. What?

Getting your mom into comics might very well be an impossible task for a lot of people, but here at High Five! we’re always trying to drag others down with us. Here are a few valiant ideas for getting your mom into comics.
Is your mom into 24? CSINCIS Las Miami? Or even just Law & Order? Then give her Greg Rucka’s Queen and Country, starring Tara Chace designated Minder One, spy extraordinaire for her royal majesty the Queen of England. She’s a british lady spy, and no one writes strong female characters quite like Greg Rucka. Pick up the Definitive Editio, Vol. 1 from Oni Press. Tara Chace could kick Jack Bauer’s ass and STILL have time to go to the bathroom. From there you could probably get her involved in Rucka’s Wonder Woman work, beginning with Bitter Rivals.
Or maybe your mom is more into the fantastic. Did she like The Princess Bride? Or Labyrinth? Or really any of those weird 80s fantasy movies? Give her Fables. Fables is the story of fairy tale and folklore characters exiled in New York. The first two trades are a bit all over the place, but once Willingham and Sturges got this book going, it rose above it’s premise and became totally awesome. I’ve found that Fables is generally a good entry point for anyone – new readers already KNOW the backgrounds of these characters, there’s no sense of being overwhelmed by decades of continuity and in-jokes.

Getting your mom into comics might very well be an impossible task for a lot of people, but here at High Five! we’re always trying to drag others down with us. Here are a few valiant ideas for getting your mom into comics.

onibk_322Is your mom into 24? CSINCIS Las Miami? Or even just Law & Order? Then give her Greg Rucka’s Queen and Country *, starring Tara Chace, designated Minder Two, spy extraordinaire for her royal majesty the Queen of England. She’s a british lady spy, and no one writes strong female characters quite like Greg Rucka. Pick up the Definitive Edition, Vol. 1 from Oni Press. Tara Chace could kick Jack Bauer’s ass and STILL have time to go to the bathroom. From there you could probably get your mom involved in Rucka’s Wonder Woman run.

fablesOr maybe your mom is more into the fantastic. Did she like The Princess Bride? Or Labyrinth? Or really any of those weird 80s fantasy movies? Give her Fables. Fables is the story of fairy tale and folklore characters exiled in New York. The first two trades are a bit all over the place, but once Willingham and Sturges got this book going, it rose above it’s premise and became totally awesome. I’ve found that Fables is generally a good entry point for anyone – new readers already KNOW the backgrounds of these characters, there’s no sense of being overwhelmed by decades of continuity and in-jokes.

glrebirthWhat about a Star Trek mom? I know people have Star Trek moms, cos I was at a buddy’s graduation party once and I made a joke about Romulan ale. Then his mom bopped over to me making Romulan jokes and I spent the rest of the party talking to her. Oddly enough, I’m going to recommend you take her straight to the super-heroes. Green Lantern: Rebirth. Geoff Johns sets up a great big space opera in this title, and it’s still running to this day. It’s damned good, and I’ve seen new readers who’ve never even HEARD of Green Lantern convert to DC after reading this title. This book pretty much requires a mom that was already a total geek.

Of course, all of these options assume that your mom is already at least a little bit of a media-junkie. If your mom isn’t really into TV or movies, you might be out of luck – some moms are just never, ever gonna read a funny book.

*Queen & Country #1 for free! You’ll need a program to unzip & read it.


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